Graduate Opportunities

Biological Sciences PhD Students

The faculty-mentored apprentice teaching program is designed to expose each student to a variety of distinct instructional environments including small group instruction in a laboratory setting as well as leading discussion sections and review sessions for lecture courses.  To achieve this, students assist as a Graduate Instructional Apprentice in a total of three courses during their graduate career, which is equivalent to one year of experience.  Students are expected to assist in three distinct courses; typically, a lecture course during the second year, a laboratory course in the third year, with choice of a lecture or a laboratory course in the fourth year of the program.  In addition to practical classroom experience under the direct supervision of a biology course instructor, students will enroll in the appropriate BGGN 50x series course (as designated by the Division) where they will also benefit from the instruction of a teaching faculty member.

A link to the application for the upcoming academic year will be sent via UC San Diego email to all Biological Sciences PhD students who need to complete program requirements to assist as a GIA.  The application is typically open in May/June prior to the academic year of the apprenticeship.  See also Graduate Instructional Apprentice Experience.

Biological Sciences MS Students

Students may apply on a quarterly basis.  Assignments are based on divisional need and are offered solely at the discretion of the Division of Biological Sciences. While an instructor may request a student as an IA, such a request does not guarantee placement, nor does it constitute an offer of apprenticeship or employment.  See Eligibilty requirements below.

PhD Students from other departments

The Division of Biological Sciences has TA service agreements with the Biomedical Sciences Program, the Department of Neurosciences, and the graduate program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Doctoral students in these programs should contact their graduate coordinator in the spring quarter prior to the academic year in which they would like to assist as a TA to inquire about eligibility and the application cycle.

The application is typically open in June prior to the academic year.

PhD students from other departments and programs can access the application for PhD students, typically in May and June prior to the academic year, through the Instructional Assistant Data Management System.  PhD students with no prior qualifying experience may apply to participate and, if assigned, will be required to complete training via BGGN 500.  See Eligibilty requirements below.

MS Students from other departments

Biological Sciences has a large pool of applicants within the division, both master’s and doctoral students, from which IA positions are staffed. The number of applicants far exceeds the number of open positions, so hiring of MS level students from outside the division is rare. Students may apply through the Instructional Assistant Data Management System.  See Eligibilty requirements below.

Assignments are based on divisional need and are offered solely at the discretion of the Division of Biological Sciences. While an instructor may request a student as an IA, such a request does not guarantee placement, nor does it constitute an offer of apprenticeship or employment.

Non-Students

Biological Sciences has a large pool of applicants within the division, both master’s and doctoral students, from which IA positions are staffed. The number of applicants far exceeds the number of open positions, so hiring of IAs from outside the division is rare. At this time, the Division of Biological Sciences is not accepting applications from non-students.

Undergraduate Students

Eligibility

Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units (upper-division and/or graduate level) at UC San Diego during the quarter of assignment. Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of six units in spring quarter to be eligible for summer positions in the following Summer Session.

Prior qualifying experience as a Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice (as evidenced by a passing grade in a qualifying 195 or 500 course), or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment at UC San Diego, is required for consideration for Teaching Assistant positions.  Graduate students with no prior qualifying experience may apply to participate and, if assigned, will be required to complete training via BGGN 500.

Performance Expectations

Actual duties for a particular course may vary and will be defined by the supervising instructor. Typical duties may include:

  • Attend lectures
  • Lead discussion section(s) or lab section(s)
  • Hold office hours
  • Assist with development of exams
  • With faculty oversight, develop new (written) course material for use in discussion sections/ homework/ exams/quizzes/ review sessions
  • Proctor and grade exams
  • Meet regularly with the instructor
  • Assist with course management
  • Mentor undergraduate instructional assistants
  • Other applicable duties as assigned by the instructor
  • 12-20 hours per week (average)

Performance Evaluations and Standards

All Instructional Assistants are evaluated by the instructor of the course and by the students enrolled in the course via online evaluation surveys conducted at the end of the quarter.

GIA/TA Workload

A typical Instructional Assistant assignment with the Division of Biological Sciences is a 30-50% appointment, or a total workload of 132-220 hours over 12 weeks. Most of the hours are accrued during the 10-week quarter and finals week.  If required, instructors will inform IAs of the need to assist in the pre-quarter week.

BGGN 500

BGGN 500 is the class in which students enroll, receive training, and earn academic credit when assigned with no prior qualifying experience.  BGGN 500 is comprised of an in-class component led by a faculty member with expertise in evidence-based teaching methods and biology education research, as well as an apprentice teaching component.  All students enrolled in BGGN 500 attend a weekly seminar.  All BGGN 500 series grades are based upon both the seminar and practicum (instructional apprentice duties) participation.

Training

BGGN 500 is the class in which students enroll, receive training, and earn academic credit when assigned as an IA with no prior qualifying experience.  Prior qualifying experience is defined as a completed Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprenticeship (as evidenced by a passing grade in a qualifying 195 or 500 course), or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment at UC San Diego.

Students assisting for the first time in a lab course must also attend a one-time Safety Training for Laboratory Instructional Assistants and complete other online safety training requirements.

Employment Information

  • A Division of Biological Sciences’ team member will contact you by email if you must attend an employee sign-up session.
  • Graduate students employed in Teaching Assistant title code 2310 are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between UC San Diego and the ASE/UAW. 
  • TAs are paid monthly. The payroll period for fall quarter is October 1-December 31 (first check November 1), for winter quarter it is January 1-March 31, and for spring quarter it is April 1-June 30.
  • Graduate students with academic appointments totaling 25% time or more are entitled to a full Graduate Student Health Insurance Premium Remission, and Tuition and Student Services Fee Remission, and other applicable benefits as set forth in the ASE/UAW Agreement. Please review the ASE/UAW Agreement for the specific eligibility requirements and amounts of each remission.
  • Names and addresses of all ASEs are released to the UAW each quarter as a condition of employment in the represented title codes.
  • ASE/UAW membership dues information
  • See the Graduate Division website for additional information concerning Academic Student Employment (ASE).

Application

Apply here for Winter 2019 Qtr

Questions? Send them to biota@ucsd.edu